Ryan demands better after Euro win


Boss Dean Ryan demanded his Dragons produce better after they defeated Castres 31-17 in the European Challenge Cup opener at Rodney Parade.

Number Eight Taine Basham grabbed a first half hat-trick – to make it six tries in seven games – and Daf Howells also went over in a thrilling opening 40 minutes.

However, speaking after the game, Director of Dragons Rugby Ryan insisted an impressive score line should not mask the performance in the Pool 1 clash.

“Weirdly, I’m not that happy. I don’t think that was anywhere near where we can be,” said Ryan. “I think a couple of tries probably masked that in the first half.

“We have got to enjoy winning, but also understand that we can be way better than that.

“First half we were bailing out of things and every time they attacked us they caused us huge amounts of problems.

“We talked all week about simple things to get right, but we have habits of jumping into moments that put us under pressure rather than repeating basics.

“We have players who can make things happen, but the game I watch is not necessarily the same as others. It’s not always score reflective.

“There are a lot of things we could have done a lot better in that first half that then really kicked on into the second. We ended up having to sit it out.

“We were always going to get the kitchen sink thrown at us with a pack that size, but we didn’t get any field position. In other games that will hurt us.

“I didn’t think they had a huge amount of threat other than a big pack. It became about a physical contest. I was unhappy, maybe Tuesday I will happy. But right now, I’m not.”

Ryan did praise the performance of several of his youngsters, but warned standards needed to be kept high.

“We had a lot of young guys out there today. Sometimes I will pat then on the back and others I will tell them we need to be better and not let score lines mask that,” he added.

“It’s a young squad and it’s learning. This isn’t a squad that has been together a long time, not a squad that is full of internationals.

“Taine Basham was outstanding, Ben Fry came on, Max Williams is a young lock.

“But we talk about when we lose heavily not masking our good and when we win well it shouldn’t mask our bad. For this squad to keep learning, that is how we will deal with things.”

Ryan also had plaudits for hooker Richard Hibbard after an all-action display from the captain.

“I’m taking things to places he has never been before,” said Ryan.

“He has never seen 80 minutes for about ten years so he played a full 80 last week.

“I let him off today because I thought he deserved some crowd adulation, so he had the last five minutes off.

“I can’t take him off because he is playing so well. He is throwing himself around, he is enjoying his rugby.”

“=There are a lot of things we could have done a lot better in that first half that then really kicked on into the second...
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